The Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe’s abortion case would trigger state bans

Pro-life and pro-choice demonstrators during a protest before the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC, USA, on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Up to 26 states, or about half of the United States, are expected to quickly ban or more severely restrict abortions if the Supreme Court overturns its 49-year sentence in Roe v. Wade, according to a leading reproductive rights advocacy group.

That prediction from the Guttmacher InstituteIssued last fall, it gained renewed attention Tuesday with the disclosure of a first draft Supreme Court decision that would overrule Roe and a related ruling, thereby eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft as reported by Politico, which, at least for now, is not the court’s official decision.

But abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers fear the court will soon issue a similar opinion. It would once again allow individual states the freedom to regulate abortion without scrutiny by federal courts.

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“It will be devastating for access to abortion across the country,” said Elizabeth Nash, interim associate director for state affairs at the Guttmacher Institute.

Nash said 36 million women of reproductive age live in the 26 states where Guttmacher plans to automatically ban abortion, or believes it likely will.

These states are concentrated in the South, Midwest and Far West.

They include Texas and Florida, which together accounted for nearly 15 percent of the more than 862,000 abortions performed nationwide in 2017.

Nash said nine of the states still have abortion bans that precede the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which in theory would come into force again with the repeal of the sentence.

roe deer v. Wade outlawed the outright ban on abortion. She said that a state could ban abortions only in the third trimester of pregnancy and only then if they allowed exceptions for cases to save the mother’s life or to protect her health.

The nine states with pre-roe bans are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

And 13 states on the list passed so-called trigger laws that would either ban abortion or further restrict it if Roe were overthrown, Nash said.

These states are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

Nash said some of the states on Guttmacher’s list on track to ban or severely restrict abortion, including Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, may not do so because they have governors advocating abortion rights, along with others. factors.

Nash noted that one in four American women will have an abortion in her lifetime.

“This means abortion is incredibly common and when you see a state start banning it, it means they’re denying people access to health care,” Nash said.

Guttmacher is active interactive map on its website which shows how far a woman in a particular state has to drive on average to get an abortion under applicable law and how far she should drive if a ban had gone into effect in her home state.

In Idaho, the current average driving distance would be 21 miles, one way. It would increase to 250 miles with a total abortion ban in that state.

In Texas, which last year passed a law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, the average distance women would have to travel to have an abortion is 17 miles each way. That would increase to 542 miles, one way, if a total ban is adopted there, as is considered certain if Roe is canceled.

Nash said that, following the new Texas law, “we are already seeing waiting times in some [abortion] the clinics increase to three and four weeks “.

“Imagine what happens to access to the clinic if multiple states ban abortion,” Nash said.

Guttmacher’s data shows that there were more than 55,400 abortions performed in Texas alone in 2017, the latest year in which statistics are available.